I have been a worship leader for over 3 decades. If someone had asked me 20 years ago for a definition of worship, I probably would have given a different answer to the same question if asked 10 years ago, and definitely different again now.
I think my appreciation of worship is much more full now than it has ever been.
The early years
I was brought up in a traditional Dutch Reformed church. As a young child I had some, although very limited, exposure to Pentecostalism.
When we migrated to Australia, my parents found a new freedom in worship, and they decided to visit a number of different churches. As a result we became quite ecumenical; that is, we worshipped at a number of different denominations.
Worship was differently defined in different churches. I distinctly remember as a young boy the minister would always use the word "Worship" in relation to taking up the collection. "We will now worship the Lord with our free will offerings". So the only form of worship I knew as a kid was the one that cost me money.
Some years later when I gave my life to Christ I began to understand what worship really was ( or so I thought): 3 fast songs followed by 3 slow songs in which the Spirit would move...
Then a number of years after that again I understood that worship was actually the whole music service before the preacher got up the preach. And if you didn't have the right ingredients or formula, well then you didn't have the spirit of worship on you. I was confused.
It wasn't until I spent 5 years at an Anglican church that l really began to get a fuller understanding of what true worship is.
My Priest at the time, Father John, used to say to me:" People have a different way of connecting with God". That's the part where people get that tangible sense of the presence of God. I used to love seeing people "connecting with God" at different places in the service. Some responded in the music (my bit) others in the couple of minutes silence after the music-a kind of quiet reflection time; still others during the communion or the prayers.
It was interesting to see where different people responded to the "tug" of the Holy Spirit. It is this "connection " that points to true worship.
To kiss the face of God
I see true Worship as attaining close intimacy with our God. When we are in true worship, we are in His presence, so much so that you can almost sense His breath upon you. To me true worship is to "Kiss the face of God" it is the ultimate close intimacy, where nothing else matters.
When I kiss my wife intimately, I close my eyes and I absorb her. She and I are one. It is a beautiful example of totally giving yourself. This is what worship is totally giving yourself to Jesus in total intimate surrender. As worship leaders, you and I have the privilege and the honour of bringing people into His throne room; Into the very Holy of Holies. I love that! This is a good opportunity to capture God's heart. This is how I see worship and you and I have an amazing opportunity to experience it this Sunday.
Have a great week!